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What to Expect After a Tooth Extraction

Dentist chair in a dental surgery

Tooth extractions are recommended for many reasons; the most common reason for a tooth extraction is to remove wisdom teeth that may not have sufficient room to emerge in the mouth. Alternatively, your Tucson dentist may recommend a tooth extraction because a tooth has been badly damaged by injury or disease. If you are scheduled for a tooth extraction procedure, understanding what to expect after the tooth has been removed can help speed recovery once you have returned home.

Returning Home

Many tooth extractions can be completed quickly using a local anesthetic, after which you may drive yourself home. However, if you received oral sedation or a general anesthetic, you will need a friend or family member to drive you home and remain with you for a few hours while the effects of the medication wear off. Regardless of the complexity of the procedure, it is best to rest for at least 24 hours after your extraction.

At-Home Recovery

After a tooth is extracted, your dentist will place gauze packing over the socket. Biting down on the gauze places pressure on the area to reduce bleeding and promote clot formation; you will be given extra gauze to take home with you and instructions re: how to change the packing periodically. Try to leave the gauze in place for approximately four hours or until the bleeding has stopped completely before discontinuing  its use. After returning home, take painkillers and antibiotics as prescribed, even if you are not in pain. Taking medication preemptively will improve your comfort as your body heals. You may place an ice pack on the outside of your mouth for ten minutes at a time to reduce swelling, and follow your dentist’s instructions regarding post-extraction meal selections, such as soft foods and liquids. Avoid drinking with a straw for at least a full day and take care when brushing your teeth to avoid the extraction site for several days to let the area heal. Also, smoking will hinder healing so you should avoid that as long as possible (maybe taking this opportunity to try to quit completely).

Manela Dental is pleased to offer general dentistry services in Tucson, including root canals, dental crowns, and tooth extractions. You can find out more about your dental health needs and our dentist, Dr. Michael Manela, when you visit us online or call (520) 744-2039.

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